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  • My brother will call Norman ^ and John, no doubt, will call June.

Do you put a comma, a semicolon, or nothing in place of this mark "^"? This sentence is from a grammar book, and you only have three options: use a comma or a semicolon, or don't put anything in place of "^".


The conjunction "and" would call for a comma, but the short phrase " no doubt" makes me think of a semicolon.

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  • I put nothing there. The no doubt clearly references John and breaks the Norman and John connection as combined actors. – EllieK Jan 27 at 17:58
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A comma is workable. I personally would be inclined to use a dash, but that is perhaps less common. I believe that a semicolon should not be used unless the "and" is removed, as a semicolon is not used before a conjunction.

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  • Here is an earlier answer to a similar question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/121809/… Googling semicolon before and would indicate that there is a difference of opinion on its use before a conjunction. – Ronald Sole Jan 26 at 23:27
  • I would use a semicolon, as suggested in earlier answers and some style guides. There's obviously room for disagreement. – Ronald Sole Jan 26 at 23:37
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    @Khaled "most suitable" is something of a judgement call. No one would argue that a comma was wrong. I think a dash better expresses the greater separation between the two parts of the sentence.If a semicolon is considered acceptable, it would also indicate that, but in my view not as well.. – David Siegel Jan 26 at 23:40
  • @Khaled When taking tests from a book one must follow the book's rules, but when writing for oneself, there is more flexibility, and that is what may answers are based on. – David Siegel Jan 26 at 23:51
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To answer the question as you asked, the only acceptable punctuation that I would consider is a comma. This is not a list, or anything like that, so I would not consider a semi-colon to be normal usage.

However, if I was writing this myself, I would probably write: "My brother will call Norman. John, no doubt, will call June."

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    Your comment should have been part of the question. How are we to know that "there are only three options?". People can only answer the question that you ask. – James K Jan 26 at 23:44

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